Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Maude by Donna Foley Mabry

Born in 1892, Maude's life story is movingly retold by her granddaughter in this captivating biography.
Maude’s life was shaped by the loss of her parents at a young age, marriage at the age of 14, the birth of 5 children, the Great Depression, WWI, and WWII. She battled influenza, survived the loss of a number of her children and loved ones, outwitted a mother-in-law who literally tried to kill her, and battled her own internal anxiety over her inability to withstand it all without feeling anger or hatred towards others.

What I loved about this biography, besides the rich details of rural life at the turn of the century, was the author’s ability, and quite frankly choice, to show Maude in all her humanity. Maude is not depicted as a perfect heroine, but rather as a real woman with all of the flaws, mistakes, love, passion and anger that comes with living a full and often painful life.

Although her life probably didn't feel extraordinary to Maude at the time, the hardships, customs, lifestyle, and losses experienced by this remarkable woman make for a gripping tale. I myself became angry at the limited and degrading options available to the women of her time.

I recommend Maude to readers of historical non-fiction and biographies who enjoy the details of women’s lives and the amazing survival skills of our ancestors . If you enjoy Maude, you may also like the Call the Midwife series by Jennifer Worth. 

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